Vice President's Remarks at a Wyoming Victory Rally
Laramie High School
11:00 A.M. MST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, a welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again. (Applause.) Almost, almost. (Laughter.)
But I'm delighted to be home. It's great to be back in Laramie. We're looking forward to a big win today for the Cowboys. (Applause.) And on Tuesday for the Republican team. (Applause.)
And I love coming back to Laramie because this is actually where Lynne and I started our married life here in Laramie, out in student housing. (Laughter.) 486 North Sewell, Apartment 275. (Laughter.) I still remember. And a bargain at $54 a month, furnished. (Laughter.)
But we're also delighted to be here today and to obviously participate in these events. It brings back a lot of memories, probably my last campaign. I may help in 2008 if I'm asked, in terms of campaigning. But from my perspective over the years, everything began, of course, right here in Wyoming. And I will always be grateful for what the people of Wyoming did for us, so many of you individually.
I always remember my first political job that I got from Stan Hathaway when he was the Republican state chairman in 1965. I had to commute over the hill out here every day to work at the Wyoming State Legislature. You gave me tremendous victories in six races for Congress. Thanks to you I was able to deliver Wyoming twice to the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Applause.) I frequently remind the President those three electoral votes made all the difference. (Laughter and applause.)
But also having Lynne with me today is special because, of course, nobody does this by themselves, have a political career as I have, and having Daughter Liz and her daughters with us today, as well. I like to tell people that we had a Republican marriage. And some of you have heard this story before, but it bears repeating, especially since Joe and Mary just celebrated their 40th. Joe was in our wedding when we got married 42 years ago.
In 1952, when Dwight Eisenhower got elected, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the Agricultural Department and Dad got transferred to Casper. So we came to Casper, and that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and, as I say, in August, marked our 42nd anniversary. (Applause.)
I pointed that out to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for that great Republican victory in 1952, I never would have moved to Casper and Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Applause.) I love that story.
But we've had great results here in Wyoming during the Bush administration. In 2000 we got just shy of 68 percent of the vote. In '04, almost 69 percent of the vote. Nobody ever asked for a recount. (Laughter.) In Wyoming, of course, we know a good leader when we see one. We know that character, integrity, and responsibility aren't just words in the dictionary; they're the way life should be lived. We're patriotic, hardworking, fair-minded -- and we expect public servants to be the same. For nearly six years now, we've seen those qualities every day in our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
I'm here today on behalf of our fine candidates, to ask you to vote for the entire Republican ticket here in the state of Wyoming. With only three days left in the campaign, it's important to talk to your friends and family and neighbors and encourage them to get to the polls on Tuesday. We need the support of Republicans and independents and discerning Democrats. Spread the word that if you want a strong economy, a safer America, and a better future for your children and grandchildren, then cast your ballot for the Republican team. (Applause.)
I'm in Laramie today, not just as Vice President but as a Wyoming voter. And I want you to know that I'm proud to stand with our ticket -- starting with our senior senator, U.S. Senator, Craig Thomas, with Ray Hunkins, Joe Meyer, Max Maxfield, Rita Meyer, Jim McBride, and our one and only Congresswoman, Barbara Cubin. (Applause.) I would also like to acknowledge Republican National Committeewoman Jan Larimer. (Applause.) Jan did superb work putting this event together, and I will henceforth always refer her as the "Goddess of Teton Village." (Laughter.)
Barbara has spent her entire career working to improve her community and this great state of ours. She's served in both houses of the Wyoming Legislature, and for the last 12 years in the United States House of Representatives. She's a respected voice on energy and mineral issues, which are so absolutely essential to our state's economy. She's stood firm for the fundamental principles that all of us share -- low taxes, limited government, individual rights, and a strong national defense. Barbara is a credit to Wyoming. She's doing our state proud in Washington, D.C. She's already got my vote, I voted early, and I hope she'll have yours. (Applause.)
In my current job as Vice President, of course, I preside over the United States Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, and then they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention, and they decided that they hadn't given him anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made him the presiding officer in the Senate, gave him the right to cast tie-breaking votes. The first Vice President, my predecessor, John Adams, was given floor privileges, so he could actually participate in the debate. He could actually go down into the well and participate in the discussion of the day, and then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) They've never been restored.
But I still do get to preside. And I go to the Senate most Tuesdays in order to have lunch with my Republican Senate colleagues, and oftentimes to dine with two of the best, Mike Enzi and Craig Thomas. (Applause.) They make a great team for Wyoming. Craig is on his way to re-election and he deserves our support. (Applause.)
We live in a period of incredible consequence for our country -- with difficult issues, big debates and decisions that require not just toughness but wisdom. I am humbled -- (applause) -- I am humbled by the honor of serving the country in times like these. And I'm proud to serve with a President who makes decisions based on what's right for America, not based on the polls, or the conventional wisdom from pundits on television. (Applause.)
When you cast your vote in this election, you're going to be doing more than just choosing a candidate for the House or the Senate. You're casting a vote for which party will have a majorities in Congress for the next two years. (Applause.) And that's going to make a big difference when it comes to taxes. You know the record of Republican leadership. We've given America the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan lived in the White House. (Applause.) We cut taxes for every American who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit. We reduced the marriage penalty. We cut taxes on small business and began phasing out the death tax. And we cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to promote investment and economic growth and more jobs. (Applause.) We've now got more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth -- (applause) -- and real wages on the rise. (Applause.) Yesterday the current job numbers were announced. They show that America's economy has added 6.8 million jobs since August of '03. (Applause.) The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.4 percent, the lowest in years. (Applause.) There's no question about it, the evidence is in, the President tax relief plan was right for America -- and it is working. (Applause.)
Our party has a clear record on taxes, and so do our opponents. When we first cut taxes in 2001, most Senate Democrats and nearly 85 percent of House Democrats voted against it. When we cut taxes in 2003, most Senate Democrats and nearly 95 percent of House Democrats voted against it. And when we extended key tax cuts earlier this year, most Senate Democrats and more than 90 percent of House Democrats voted no.
I notice that now, we're on the eve of an election, the leader of the House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi claims --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- claims Democrats "love tax cuts." But that invites us to take another look at her party's record on taxes. It's plain to see that it stretches back a long way. The last time they had control of Congress, back in 1993, they passed a massive tax increase. They'll do it again if they can -- (applause) -- they've already figured out a way to do it. Under current law, many of the Bush tax cuts have to be renewed by Congress or they will expire, and the old rates will kick back in. Recently the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel, said that he cannot think of one of our first term tax cuts that ought to be extended. If the Democrats take control of the House, Charlie Rangel would become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He would be in a position to block any legislation coming out of the committee. And if there's no tax legislation renewing the cuts, every rate will go back up to the old level, the marriage penalty will return, and the death tax will come back to life. (Applause.) The child credit, also, will drop back down from $1,000 to $500. In other words, take the number of dependent children you receive the tax credit for, multiply it by $500 -- and that's the additional amount you'll be sending to Washington if we get a Congress that lets the Bush tax cuts expire.
That should raise the stakes of this election in the mind of every voter. If the Democrats take control, American families would face an immense tax increase, and the economy would sustain a major hit.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: As the President has said, this nation needs more than a temporary expansion, so we need more than temporary tax relief. For the sake of America's entrepreneurs, families, and communities, we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent -- and we can do that. (Applause.)
We're going to continue working on an agenda for growth and jobs, a safe environment, and better access to health care. We believe our job is to solve big problems, not simply pass them on to the next generation. That's how we'll continue to do business. And when vacancies arise on the federal courts -- (Applause.) Treat him gently. (Laughter.) We may need his vote. (Laughter.) When vacancies arise on the federal court, the President will keep appointing outstanding judges like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. (Applause.)
Above all, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to stay focused on our number one obligation: to protect and defend the people of the United States in this time of war. (Applause.)
After the attacks of 9/11, President Bush told the Congress and the country that we were in for a long struggle against enemies who regard the entire world as a battlefield. He said the fight would be a serious test of our patience and our resolve as a nation. He was exactly right. And the people who have done the finest work in this war are the brave men and women from Wyoming and across America who serve in our armed forces -- we're proud of them. (Applause.)
More than five years after 9/11, the terrorists are still trying desperately to commit acts of violence against innocent Americans. As long as that remains the case, we will be a nation at war. And wars are not won on the defensive. We'll protect this country by going on the offensive, and by taking the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)
In this election season, national security is at the top of the agenda, where it belongs. Every voter in the United States needs to know where we stand, as well as how the leaders of the Democratic Party view the global war on terror. The differences could hardly be more clear, and they have implications for the future security of our nation.
To win this war, America needs the Patriot Act. Thanks to this law we've been able to break up terror cells and prosecute terrorist operatives and supporters inside our country. The Patriot Act was passed overwhelmingly in October of 2001, because in those early days the danger to America was still in plain view for everyone. But when it came up for renewal, Senate Democrats tried to block it by filibuster. Their floor leader, Harry Reid, boasted publicly that he had killed the Patriot Act -- those were his words. Fortunately he was wrong. Fortunately for the country he lost that battle. Barbara Cubin, Mike Enzi and Craig Thomas voted for the Patriot Act. (Applause.) That's exactly the kind of common sense we need in the United States Congress.
To win this war, America also needs the Terrorist Surveillance Program -- which allows the National Security Agency to monitor international communications, one end of which we have reason to believe is related to al Qaeda. The purpose is obvious: If people inside the United States are communicating with al Qaeda, they are talking to the enemy, and we need to know about it. (Applause.)
Yet many leading Democrats have denounced the President for this program. Recently, when a bill to authorize the program came to the House floor, 177 Democrats -- 88 percent of all the Democratic members in the House -- voted no.
To win this war, America also needs to be able to arrest, detain and interrogate terrorist operatives. (Applause.) This includes Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who thought of and masterminded the attack on 9/11 that killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens. The best source of information and intelligence in the war on terror is the terrorists themselves -- and we have obtained from captured terrorists intelligence that has helped us stop a number of attacks planned for this country. Not long ago, Congress voted on the future of this program. In the House, 162 Democrats -- nearly 80 percent, voted no. In the Senate, 32 out of the 44 Democrats voted no. It appears their preference is for us not to have a program that allows us to interrogate these high value prisoners, and not allow us to have military commissions to bring them to justice.
Ladies and gentlemen, the key question before the voters on November 7th is whether or not this nation is serious about fighting the war on terror. And there can be no doubt that George Bush, Craig Thomas, Mike Enzi and Barbara Cubin are serious about fighting it, and winning the war on terror. (Applause.)
Time and time again, we're seeing examples of Democratic Party leaders apparently having lost their perspective concerning the nature of the enemy we face, and the need to wage this fight aggressively. No sharper example can be found than the Democratic Party chairman himself, Howard Dean. Don't hold back.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He said the capture of Saddam Hussein did not make us any safer. Maybe it should be no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Joe Lieberman simply because he had been a supporter of the fight against terror.
Instead they highlight people like John Kerry.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He was, of course, their presidential nominee and the titular head of their party just two years ago. Aren't we lucky he lost that election? (Applause.) You remember John Kerry -- the senator who voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, the guy that was always lecturing us about nuance. He's the one, you'll recall, who last year said that American soldiers were terrorizing children in Iraq.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And here's what he had to say earlier this week -- quote: "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Of course, Senator Kerry said he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. (Laughter.) He was for the joke before he was against it. (Laughter and applause.)
The Senator finally apologized, and rightly so. All Americans realize that the men and women serving in Iraq aren't there because they didn't study hard or do their homework. The all-volunteer force represents the very best of this country. (Applause.) They are smart, patriotic, exceptionally well trained, and dedicated to their mission. They are heroes, and they are the pride of the United States of America. (Applause.)
Among the leading Democrats, you'll find a range of views on Iraq. Some of them want to pull out all the troops right away. Some want to withdraw on a time line set by politicians in Washington. And some Democrats in the House have introduced legislation to cut off funds for the troops in Iraq. All of these proposals have a common theme: They would have America leave Iraq before the job is done. That's the kind of retreat that Osama bin Laden has been predicting. He and his followers believe that America doesn't have the stomach for this fight, and they are absolutely convinced they can break the will of this country. If we left before the job was done, we would simply validate the al Qaeda strategy and reinforce the notion that if they kill enough Americans they can change American policy. So the choice before the American people is becoming more clear every day: For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of retreat and defeatism in the war on terror. (Applause.)
My friends, we live in a two-party state -- but I've got a feeling Wyoming Democrats don't find much in common with Democratic leaders like Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Nancy Pelosi. And as you vote, it's very important to remember that this election will have enormous consequences for the nation, one way or the other. In all the decisions that will come in the next two years, it's going to matter a great deal which party has the majority on the floor and controls the gavel in committee.
So the stakes in this campaign are high -- not just for the political parties but for the country. The outcome will determine whether Americans pay higher taxes or lower taxes. It will determine whether this government remains firm and resolute in the war on terror, or falls into confusion, doubt, and indecision. The stakes are high for America's prosperity. The stakes are high for America's security. The stakes are high for America's families.
So now is the time to talk to our friends, put up the yard signs, make the calls, and give it one more big push before Election Day. As citizens of Wyoming, we deserve people in the Nation's Capital, and in the state capital, who speak up for our values and our interests. And that's why, with your help, we're going to see a great Republican victory on November 7th. (Applause.)
END 11:30 A.M. MST
Richard B. Cheney, Vice President's Remarks at a Wyoming Victory Rally Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/283307